Excellent post Paidion.
If the concept ‘The Trinity’ is a paradox, then making it a dogma or a creedal/catechismal necessity seems mis-placed, to me.
Excellent post Paidion.
Akimel - thank you for your clarification of the problems and the difficulties in this. You made some excellent points.
In general, I support this non-technical view of supposed ‘paradoxes’ in revelation:
“We answer again, that, if God be infinitely wise, he cannot sport with the understandings of his creatures. A wise teacher discovers his wisdom in adapting himself to the capacities of his pupils, not in perplexing them with what is unintelligible, not in distressing them with apparent contradictions, not in filling them with a skeptical distrust of their own powers. An infinitely wise teacher, who knows the precise extent of our minds, and the best method of enlightening them, will surpass all other instructors in bringing down truth to our apprehension, and in showing its loveliness and harmony.
It is not the mark of wisdom, to use an unintelligible phraseology, to communicate what is above our capacities, to confuse and unsettle the intellect by appearances of contradiction. We honor our Heavenly Teacher too much to ascribe to him such a revelation. A revelation is a gift of light. It cannot thicken our darkness, and multiply our perplexities.”
That quote is from Wm. Ellery Channing who was of course a Unitarian, but not necessarily therefore wrong.
If God cannot make something clear to us, perhaps it is not something that we are going to accomplish on our own?
I don’t know how much time I’m going to have, Dave, so without reading everyone else’s comments, I’ll jump straight to ONE.
Maybe I’m not thinking this through deeply enough, but it seems to me that Jesus having a divine and a human nature isn’t really a problem. This is the way I see it. Jesus came to be an example for us for the way we can live when depending on Father for everything (as He did/does). Perhaps He’s been doing this always, since He goes forth from the Father always. He has that divine nature of the Father, but perhaps Father gave all of us that, in the Spirit of life He gives to each of us. I don’t know. He’s God and He came and inhabited the body (complete with human nature) that Father prepared for Him. It’s not like He was neurotic, suffering from multiple personality disorder. He lived as a man, having emptied Himself of His godhood, though still having that divine nature (as is now available to us). He lived by the power of the Holy Spirit in obedience to the Father. His advantage was to have an unfallen human nature (which of course we do not have), but to even the score, He stood in for the whole family of mankind as our representative and died on our behalf, destroying that old man once and for all. He was raised and we are raised in Him to newness of life. We have defiled our humanity and must climb out of the hole – a thing He did not do – but He is here, our shepherd, to pull us out so long as we’re willing to allow it and cling to His hand best we can. Jesus was MASTER of His body (mind, will, emotions) as we are to BECOME master of our own bodies though we do this in concert with Him and trusting Him to complete that work in us.
Think of His first miracle. He turned the water into wine. The water is still there, but now it’s infused with life and nourishment (the blood of grapes, you know) and makes glad the heart of man. AND it’s really, really GOOD wine! Somewhere around 150 gallons of it! Jesus gives life and life in abundance. So now He lives in us via the Holy Spirit and our natures are also mingled divine and human. He is special though, because He has always been with and of the Father. For us, this is an imparted nature whereas for Him it is intrinsic. Will we be like Him? Yes. What does that mean? I honestly dare not go any farther – it’s more than I know.
How do you know that, Cindy? Didn’t he inherit the same fallen, human nature from His mother Mary that we all inherit from our parents?
It is my opinion that though He had inherited the fallen, human nature, He was always able to overcome temptation, and therefore was never involved in wrongdoing.
… for we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.(Heb. 4:15)
If He hadn’t had a fallen, human nature, He wouldn’t have been tempted at all, would He have been?
Cindy, I just don’t think your comments - which I appreciate - answer the questions posed by ONE. I’m not saying you are wrong, just that the questions 1-4 pose certain unavoidable paradoxes that necessarily are entailments to trinitarian thought.
I think Paidion is on the right track on this one, and that goes along with my general view of scripture, a part of which I posted to Akimel above.
I’m not sure of your purpose with these quotes, though I know you were somehow trying to answer Dave’s question, “What is the Godhead?”
Does the word “Godhead” from the middle ages have a special connotation for you?
Modern translators render the word as “divinity”, “divine nature”, etc. I, myself, favour “deity”. That the deity is very unlike man-made gods is clear (Acts 17:9). That God possesses eternal power and deity as in Romans 1:20, there is no doubt. That the fullness of deity dwells within the resurrected Christ bodily as in Col.2:9, there is no doubt. So I’m puzzled what these verses mean to you, and would much appreciate your expounding them in light of what you had in mind when quoting them.
I thought I made the distinction clear so as not to confuse “reasoning about…” anything, as opposed to the adoption of “secular philosophy to accommodate their own lack of spiritual clarity.”
I was not trying to give any special interpretation, only to show why I would use the term. The term has been part of christian culture for many hundreds of years. I think the term is apt to describe a dynamic of relationship within the “Deity”; just as we would talk about the “Hypostatic Union” (speaking of secular philosophy) to describe the dynamic of Christ’s God-man relationship in Christological discussions. I do not have any problem with this term to describe relationship within the Deity… “Let us make man in our image, according to our likeness.”
Another great post, akimel. I found it interesting that Basil was said to have died after reading the (second?) letter of Eunomius. I don’t think it was a case of “the letter kills”, but it does show how passionate the subject can be.
I agree that a re-analysis of our christian roots is imperative. So much of our beliefs, whether we are Orthodox or Protestant, are built upon the foundations of 4th century Catholicism. We need to re-align ourselves according to earlier fathers, and get away from Athanasius, Jerome, Cyril, Augustine, the Cappadocian fathers, Hilary, etc. The 4th century was the church’s darkest hour up until that time. No longer was the enemy seen to be the Devil, or Jews, Romans, Gnostics… now the enemy was within - and we fought the enemy with axe, sword and torch. Within one year of the Council of Nicaea, Constantine had his wife and son killed, and yet he was still seen as a Christian equal to bishops. Over 10,000 followers of Origen were rounded up and butchered. The great Cyril did not stop there… the famous Hypatia was ripped apart, literally, by a church gone mad. Then followed the gangsters synod, where bishops were killed by bishops. Something terrible had happened to the church, and no good fruit would come of it. We need to completely scrap the 4th century church, and return to the church prior to the darkness setting in. This was the view of Isaac Newton, which he, to me, was a true visionary and reformer. I believe we will return to our roots through the instigation of persecution and seizure of the church in the near future. These will be the beginnings of sorrow and woe! but a faithful church will recognize this as a signal for Christ’s return.
I think you have assumed too much here, Paidion. Jesus does not need to have a “fallen, human nature” in order to be tempted (tested). “And the tempter  came to Him, "If you are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.” (Matthew 4:3) He was tempted simply because of the notion that He was “the Son of God”. He was given temptations similar to us all; but because He was “the Son of God” (i.e., perfect - as was Adam); He succeeded every test and temptation… yet allowing Him to “sympathize with our weaknesses”. Jesus knows the temptations placed before us because the devil had also tempted Him to rebel against the Father. It does not require that Jesus had a fallen sinful body. I am surprised that you have suggested that…
His body did age, he did have to eat and drink…apparently it was like ours, or what was the point…I don’t know if we call that a ‘sinful’ body or not - are our bodies sinful? I think not.
It depends what you mean, Dave… Using biblical terminology, it is taught that sin resides within our bodies. So yes, our bodies are sinful…
“Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin,
and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned…”
“For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature.
For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.”
Don’t see any mention of the body there, Steve.
Yes, I meant to give you a different translation which uses the word “flesh” to mean human body…
“For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. [4561 - sarx]
For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out.”
The word “flesh”, sarx, means “body”.
“Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body [sarx] also will rest in hope.”
“…he spoke of the resurrection of the Messiah, that he was not abandoned to the realm of the dead, nor did his body [sarx] see decay.”
“Therefore, since we have these promises, dear friends,
let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body [sarx] and spirit, perfecting holiness.”
2 Corinthians 7:1
See also Ephesians 2:15, 5:29; Colossians 2:5
Sarx is never simply ‘human nature’ for Paul; nor is it simply a reference to physical humanness as opposed to non-physical aspects, such as soul or spirit. It is always human nature ‘seen as’ corruptible, decaying, ding on the one hand, and/or rebelling, deceiving, and sinning, on the other. “Flesh” always carries negative overtones somewhere on this scale, whereas for Paul being human was not something negative, but good and God-given and to be reaffirmed in the resurrection.
-Wright “The Letter to the Romans”
Paul’s mention of sarx in Romans 7:18 - “nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh [sarx]” would say otherwise…Also, the term is used of Christ’s body: “nor did his body [sarx] see decay.” If sarx is always “‘seen as’ corruptible, decaying, dying on the one hand, and/or rebelling, deceiving, and sinning…”, in what sense was sarx used of Christ, who’s body neither sinned nor decayed?
i don’t think Paul does disagree, first.
It’s saying that a body can sin that just sound weird - does it sin without my consent? If it takes my consent, then of course it can be used for sinful acts. But I think the body itself is just fine.
I don’t see any “free will” either
The body “sins” because all creation has been subjected to futility and death (Romans 8:20). Sin and death are two sides of the same coin.
“As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my flesh. [sarx]
For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.”
Romans 7:17, 18
You need to read all of chapters 7 & 8 of Romans…
This free-will choice, to walk according to the Spirit, is granted to us through the act of faith and repentance; “if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you.” I think you need to get a broader knowledge of the scriptures. You appear to be trying to understand through other people’s books and experiences. There is no substitute for the word of God.
As we can see Paul was in bondage. According to verses 24-25 It was Christ who delivered him from the captivity of sin. Paul couldn’t do it. It’s by the Spirit that we choose. Only by God’s grace.